|Saturday 26 July 2014 @ 09:00pm : -
2 Man Gentleman Band Trio
Irreverent songwriters, expert instrumentalists, former street-performers, and consummate showmen, The Two Man Gentlemen Band has been barnstorming from coast to coast for half a decade, developing a reputation as a must-see live act on the roots and retro music circuits. A tenor guitar and string bass duo in the tradition of the great Slim & Slam, The Gents have obvious affection for pre-war American Jazz and Western Swing. But they’re no period piece. The decidedly contemporary feel of their lyrics and the hilarious, often ridiculous, improvised banter that peppers their live shows combine with the music for a thoroughly modern ruckus. “It’s as if,” one reviewer commented, “The Smothers Brothers were young today, wore better suits, and wrote hot jazz songs about drinking.” To The Gentlemen, that sounds about right.
Over the band’s first six albums, Andy Bean, singer, tenor guitarist & banjoist, and principal songwriter for the band, has developed a knack for writing “smart, funny, sharp-rhyming songs that put them in the company of classics like Louis Jordon and Louis Prima.” (Boston Phoenix) His ten originals on the seventh album Two at a Time continue in that vein. Foods, beverages, and generally having a good time are the dominant themes. Please Don’t Water it Down describes how difficult it can be to find a well made drink when the only bar open in town is a chain restaurant. Pork Chops, Cheese & Crackers, and Tikka Masala cleverly blend cuisine and love. And Pool Party… well, who doesn’t like a pool party? Acknowledging their increasing debt to early jazz and western swing, two obscure tunes learned from Jack Guthrie and Lil Hardin Armstrong, respectively, round out the record.
Throughout, The Gents limit themselves to two instruments: Bean’s 4-string electric tenor guitar, played through a vintage 1937 Gibson amplifier, and Fuller Condon’s upright bass. Audiences are consistently amazed that The Gents can raise such a ruckus as a duo. Two at a Time is the first of their albums to accurately capture that experience. Clever arrangements, “keen vocal harmonies” (The New Yorker), and “virtuosic playing” (The Herald – Glasgow, UK) that hasn’t lost the ramshackle edge of their street-performing years make up for what the band lacks in size.
“Firmly grounded in a fast paced country swing tradition and downright enthralling in a live setting.” ~ Cleveland Scene